Ninja in popular culture
A ninja is a stock character in Japanese and international popular culture. The cultural references listed below are separated by category: novels, comics, anime and manga, games, television and music. Live-action films and video games are discussed in separate articles.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Film
- 3 Anime and manga
- 4 Literature
- 5 Television
- 6 Games
- 7 Music
- 8 Sports
- 9 Tourism and other business
- 10 Internet
- 11 Products
- 12 Armed groups
- 13 Other
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Depictions of ninja range from realistic to exaggerated. A stereotypical, stylized ninja character commonly wears a dark hood or mask, and can move stealthily. Ninja characters are identified by their use of traditional blade weapons and their superhuman abilities, such as running on water and up walls. Although they are depicted as nearly invincible when they are the heroes of a story, they may also be "redshirts" to be dispatched by a story's protagonist. Modern ninja depictions show them attacking in large numbers or as nearly-invulnerable, solitary warriors.
According to a 2011 article in The Guardian, "in Japan, ninja are now something of a national myth, a slightly cartoonish composite of old folk tales and modern pop culture." Ninja are popular characters in Japanese folklore, jidaigeki literature and the performing arts; Ishikawa Goemon was the subject of a number of kabuki plays, and Sarutobi Sasuke has appeared in Japanese children's stories since 1911. Koga Unôn Ninjutsu Kogaryû is a 1916 silent film. Ninja-themed films and books became popular in Japanese culture during the 1950s and early 1960s. In Japan the word shinobi and its variants are often used, rather than "ninja".
The first major appearance of ninja in Western pop culture was a secret commando force used by Japanese intelligence in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice (1967). The 1960s TV series The Samurai sparked interest in ninja among young Australian viewers, but ninja were unnoticed in other Western countries until later. Western interest in ninja increased during the 1980s, particularly in the United States where several American ninja movies starring Sho Kosugi were released early in the decade, contributing to worldwide "ninja-mania". Later ninja-themed international hit media franchises include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (introduced in the late 1980s) and Naruto (introduced in the late 1990s).
Anime and manga
The following manga and anime series feature ninja:
- Akakage, The Masked Ninja (仮面の忍者赤影 Kamen no Ninja Akakage?): Anime adaptation of the television series.
- Anime Ganbare Goemon: Anime version of the Goemon video-game series.
- Azumi: The title character is a young woman brought up as part of a team of assassins charged with killing the warlords threatening the uneasy peace in feudal Japan after the Sengoku period.
- Basilisk (バジリスク〜甲賀忍法帖〜 Bajirisuku ~Kōga Ninpō Chō~?, Basilisk: The Kōga Ninja Scrolls): Two ninja clans, Tsubagakure of the Iga and Manjidani of Kouga, fight to determine which grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next shogun. It features many characters from rival ninja clans during the Tokugawa shogunate.
- Black Lion (Kuro no Shishi): Manga series and an anime film adaptation.
- Brave10: Manga adaptation of Sanada Ten Braves.
- Change 123
- Flame of Recca (烈火の炎 Rekka no Honō?): A teenage boy learns he is the descendant of a Hokage ninja clan which perished during the reign of Oda Nobunaga.
- Fūma no Kojirō
- Genki Bakuhatsu Ganbaruger
- Henshin Ninja Arashi: Manga by Shotaro Ishinomori Its characters also appear in the manga Skull Man.
- Himawari! (ひまわりっ!?): Comedy series about a non-ninja teacher at an all-girl ninja school.
- I Am Sarutobi! (Ore wa Sarutobi da!): Manga by Osamu Tezuka about Sarutobi Sasuke.
- Igano Kabamaru
- Is This a Zombie? (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?)
- Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl (十兵衛ちゃん Jūbei-chan?): Action-comedy television series about a teenage girl who turns into a deadly ninja warrior when she wears an eye patch.
- Shadow Hunters (Kage Gari)
- Kage Kara Mamoru!: A teenage boy transforms into a ninja to protect his neighbor.
- Kamui the Ninja: Stories Other Than the Legend (忍風カムイ外伝 Ninpū Kamui Gaiden?): A 1969 anime adaptation of The Legend of Kamui.
- Kunoichi Mahouden: Erotic manga series.
- Karasu Tengu Kabuto: Manga series, later adapted into an anime series and an OVA film.
- The Last Kunoichi (Kunoichi Bakumatsu Kitan): Erotic anime series about kunoichi caught in the struggles of the late Tokugawa shogunate.
- The Legend of Kamui: Manga series.
- Kyatto Ninden Teyandee (Samurai Pizza Cats): In the Japanese version, the title characters are ninja facing ninja enemies.
- Lupin III: Goemon Ishikawa XIII, a member of Lupin's gang, is the 13th descendant of the historical Goemon.
- Naruto (NARUTO—ナルト—?): Series set in a fictional world where characters attend ninja school and practice ninjutsu. The series spawned a number of video games.
- Nabari no Ou
- Ninja, the Wonder Boy (まんが猿飛佐助 Manga Sarutobi Sasuke?): Adventures of young ninja Sarutobi Sasuke.
- Ninja Girls (乱飛乱外 Rappi Rangai?, lit. Flying out of turbulence): A boy rescues a kunoichi who becomes his servant and introduces him to her friends.
- Ninja Hattori-kun (忍者ハットリくん?)
- Ninja Nonsense: The Legend of Shinobu (ニニンがシノブ伝 Ninin ga Shinobuden?, also 2x2 Shinobuden): A teenage girl becomes involved with a kunoichi and her family.
- Ninja Robots (忍者戦士飛影 Ninja Senshi Tobikage?, lit. "Ninja Warrior Tobikage"): A science-fiction series in which Martian teenagers pilot ninja-style robots to protect a princess in an interplanetary war.
- Ninja Scroll: The Series (Jūbē Ninpūchō Ryūhōgyoku Hen)
- Path of the Assassin (Hanzo no Mon): Story of ninja Hattori Hanzo.
- Rakudai Ninja Rantarō
- Rantaro the Ninja Boy (Nintama Rantarō): Anime series for young children about Rantarou, his friends and teachers at a ninja school.
- Samurai Legend (Kaze no Sho): Historical manga by Jiro Taniguchi.
- Sarutobi Sasuke: Manga by Shigeru Sugiura.
- Sasuga no Sarutobi: TV series and comedy manga by Fujihiko Hosono about a ninja high school.
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman): Five young International Science Organization operatives, dressed like birds and trained in the ninja arts.
- Senran Kagura - Anime version of a video game of the same name.
- Shinobu Kokoro: Hidden Heart
- Shinobi Life
- Shōnen Jiraiya: Manga by Shigeru Sugiura.
- Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru
- Tail of the Moon (Tsuki no Shippo)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legend of the Supermutants: Anime version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls (Y+M)
- Zannen Kunoichi Den: Manga series.
- Zanpei Kumotori: Manga by Takao Saito.
Sanpei Shirato has written ninja-themed manga, including Akame – The Red Eyes, Band of Ninja (Ninja Bugeicho) (later adapted into an anime film), Kaze no Ishimaru, Ninpou Hiwa, Ookami Kozou, Ninja Senpuu, The Legend of Kamui and Watari (later adapted into the live-action film, Watari, the Ninja Boy).
Although the following stories feature a ninja character, they are not ninja-themed:
- Afro Samurai: One of Afro's personalities is Ninja Ninja.
- Ai Kora: Kirino Ootori comes from a ninja family, and supporting characters Ai Hagidzuka and Kunoichi Awayuki practice ninjutsu.
- Angel Blade: Hentai (adult) OAV series.
- Bastard!!: Ninja Master Gara.
- Blade of the Immortal: Master Sōri and his female students, Meguro and Tanpopo, in the final story arcs.
- Chōdenji Machine Voltes V: Megumi Oka, the only female member of the Voltes V Team, is a female ninja.
- Demon King Daimao: Female characters are involved with the rival Koga and Iga ninja clans.
- Dragon Ball: Anthropomorphic ninja dog Shu and the six Murasaki brothers.
- Erotic Torture Chamber: Hentai anime OVA series.
- Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture and Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle: Two anime films based on the video-game series featuring ninja Mai Shiranui.
- Gin Tama; Sarutobi Ayame, Jiraia's and Tsukuyo's Hyakka team and the Shinobi Five (Hattori Zenzou, Gou, Shuwa, Wakikaoru, Matsuo).
- Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, Ginga Legend Weed and Kacchū no Senshi Gamu.
- Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami
- Haō Taikei Ryū Knight
- Kanokon: Ren and Ai
- Kaze ga Gotoku
- Ken'ichi: The Mightiest Disciple (Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Ken'ichi): Shigure Kousaka is a weapons master who uses ninja weapons.
- Kōtarō Makaritōru!
- Labyrinth of Flames (Honoo no Labyrinth)
- Millennium Actress
- Mirmo! (Wagamama Fearī Mirumo de Pon!): Yashichi, Yamane and Nezumi.
- Musashi Gundoh
- Nagasarete Airantou: Several of the island girls practice ninjutsu.
- Negima!: Magister Negi Magi: Kaede Nagase practices ninjutsu.
- Outlaw Star: "Twilight" Suzuka is a ninja assassin.
- Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar: Hammer, a bumbling ninja.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Manga and TV series featuring the Oniwabanshu ninja group, which includes Shinomori Aoshi and Makimachi Misao.
- Sailor Victory: Comedy OAV series about a team of policewomen using ninja robots.
- Samurai Deeper Kyo: Sarutobi Sasuke, a member of Sanada Yukimura's ninja group.
- Samurai Spirits
- Short-Tempered Melancholic (Kanshakudama no Yuutsu)
- Soar High! Isami
- Soul Eater: Students Black Star and Tsubaki practice ninjutsu.
- Sgt. Frog (Sergeant Keroro): Dororo and Koyuki are skilled in ninjutsu.
- Transformers: The Headmasters: Sixshot is portrayed as a ninja.
- Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle: Kurogane is a ninja in the main group who travels to parallel worlds.
Supporting ninja appearances include Ah! Itoshi no Banchousama (Hirayama Hayaka's ninja bodyguard), Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (OVER's Ninja Assassin Corp and the Ultimate Five Assassins), Code Geass (Sayoko Shinozaki), Cutey Honey, Dinosaur King (episode "Ninja Nightmare"), F-Zero: GP Legend (Dream), Hero Tales, Hunter x Hunter (Hanzo and Machi), Hyper Police (Kasumi), Kamen no Maid Guy (ninja maids Shizuku and Tsurara), King Arthur, Kinnikuman (the Ninja), Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (Kirby becomes a ninja and works with Benikage and Yamikage in the episode "Visiting Ninja, Benikage!"), Kotetsu no Daibouken (Kagari), Lone Wolf and Cub, Machine Robo: Battle Hackers, Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto (Rakugan), Magical Princess Minky Momo ("Ninja Arrived! Momo is Ninja"), Mega Man Star Force (the Tribe-On transformation Green Ninja), Metal Fighter Miku ("Pretty Four vs The Lady Ninjas"), Miami Guns, My-HiME/My-Otome (Akira Okuzaki), Nagasarete Airantou (Mikoto), Oh My Goddess! (Marller's ninja trio), Planetes (Tanabe's neighbors in "The Lunar Flying Squirrels"), the Pokémon series and Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu (Aya, Koga-Kyō and Janine-Anzu), PQ Angels, Raimuiro Ryuukitan X (Kasuri Hattori), Ranma 1/2 (Konatsu, Sasuke Sarugakure, and Shirokuro), Saber Marionette, Sailor Moon (the villain of the week Oniwabandana), Sakura Wars, Samurai Champloo ("Bogus Booty" and "Baseball Blues"), Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School, Sengoku Collection (Kotaro Fuuma), Sonic X (the E-91 Lady Ninja and Espio the Chameleon), Sorcerer Hunters, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar (Yūsha Ō GaoGaiGā) (Volfogg), Those Who Hunt Elves, Tower of Etruria (Palmyra), Ultraman (Alien Baltan), Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito, Yakitate! Japan ("Nin Nin Nin!! My Way of Ninja!"), Yoshimune (Kunoichi), YuYu Hakusho (Team Shadow Channelers).
Ninja-themed novels include:
- American Chillers and Magic Tree House series: New York Ninjas and Night of the Ninjas.
- Brett Wallace: Ninja Master: Eight-book series by Wade Barker (Richard Meyers).
- Demon King Daimao: Light novels by Shotaro Mizuki with girls representing the rival Koga and Iga ninja clans, they were adapted into anime and manga series.
- Fukurō no Shiro by Ryotaro Shiba, who also wrote a collection of short stories (Saigo no Igamono).
- Kage Kara Mamoru!: Series of light novels adapted into manga and anime series.
- The Kouga Ninja Scrolls (Kōga Ninpōchō): Novel by Futaro Yamada about two rival ninja clans, the Iga and Kouga; adapted into manga and anime series and a live-action film.* Tulku, a Tale of Modern Ninja: Novel by American ninjutsu practitioner Stephen K. Hayes.
- Kamui: A series of five novels by Tetsu Yano, later adapted in manga, anime and live-action formats.
- Ninja's Revenge and The Bamboo Bloodbath by Piers Anthony.
- Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe: Novel by Robert Asprin and George Takei, featuring a future ninja clan member.
- The Ninja: Thriller by Eric Van Lustbader featuring a half-Japanese, half-white character who received ninjutsu training in his youth; followed by The Miko, White Ninja, The Kaisho, Floating City and Second Skin.
- The Ninja Murders: Historical novel by Andrew B. Suhrer.
- Ninja Slayer: Series of Japanese cyberpunk novels by "Bradley Bond".
- Not for Glory: Space opera novel by Joel Rosenberg about a mercenary Jewish-Japanese tribe which practices ninjutsu.
- Sanada Ten Braves (Sanada Jūyūshi): Meiji legend, first published in novel form in 1912 during the Taishō period.
- Shinobi no Mono: Series of novels by Tomoyoshi Murayama about the life of Ishikawa Goemon. During the 1960s it was adapted into a series of films about Goemon and other historical ninja.
- Tales of the Otori: The Tribe consists of five ninja families with powers.
- The Diamond Chariot: Erast Fandorin learns ninjutsu in Japan.
- You Only Live Twice: 1964 James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, in which the Japanese secret service uses a secret ninja force to help Bond stop SPECTRE's scheme.
In the Marvel Universe ninja have appeared as both heroes, such as Spider-Man's foe White Ninja, X-Men members Psylocke and Revanche, along with supporting character Yukio, Ghost Rider's foes Deathwatch and Death Ninja, Wolverine's mentor Ogun, Hawkeye (as Ninja Ronin), the Punisher's friend Katherine Yakamoto (from Shadowmasters), and Pacific Overlords operative Kuroko (Aya Komatsu). In the Marvel Mangaverse, Spider-Man is the last member of a ninja clan. A sinister ninja cult, the Hand, appears in X-Men and Daredevil. The cult and its associates were responsible for the martial training of Psylocke, Elektra, Daredevil, Black Tarantula, Kitty Pryde, Lady Bullseye and Wolverine. The Hand's heroic counterpart is The Chaste, which struggles with its Korean offshoot the True Believers, including Dragonfly (Meiko Yin). Characters with ninja abilities also appear in the DC Universe; one is martial artist and assassin Lady Shiva, who kills Armless Master. DC's The New 52 relaunch introduced the character Kunoichi, a member of the Blackhawks.
Characters with the sort of mystical and superhuman martial arts abilities attributed to the ninja occur in the DC Universe. One character who is portrayed in a fashion similar to a ninja is master martial artist and assassin Lady Shiva; Shiva also killed Armless Master, who had trained both Catwoman and Hellhound. The fourth Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, also has the qualities of the Western perception of a ninja (there is also a book titled Batman and the Ninja). The retconned stealth and martial arts training of the recent Batman incarnations has led many latter day Batman fans to assume that Batman is a ninja; Ra's Al Ghul specifically mentions ninja during his training of Bruce Wayne. One alternative-universe comic even substitutes Batman with a Japanese female ninja named Komori (Bat). One alternative version of Robin has him named Tengu and raised by Cat-Ninja (Catwoman) in the feudal Japan.
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) series, all four main characters and many of their friends and foes are ninja, mostly from the Foot Clan (a pastiche of Marvel's group The Hand), including Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, Shredder and Karai. The franchise achieved a high popularity, resulting in a franchise of multiple films, television series, video games, and a wide range of toys and other merchandise.
The G.I. Joe of comic books has featured ninja far more than the cartoon series, and many story arcs revolved around Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Jinx, Kamakura, Firefly and the Arashikage ninja clan, which consisted of an extended family of ninja characters (never featured in the toyline or cartoon). Other characters in the comic who received ninja training from the Arashikage clan and their associates were Cobra Commander's son Billy Kessler and the shapeshifter Zartan.
Other ninja-themed comics include:
- Blade for Barter
- Cowboy Ninja Viking
- Empowered: Ninjette is a female ninja co-protagonist. and other characters.
- Executive Assistant Iris
- Half Past Danger
- Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa
- Kabuki: Series about a member of a government-backed circle of masked, costumed female assassins in near-future Japan.
- Legend of the Shadow Clan
- Livewires: Hollowpoint Ninja is a main character.
- Mail Order Ninja
- Mortal Kombat: Series based on the video-game series of the same name, with Jade, Kitana, Mileena, Reptile, Scorpion and Sub-Zero.
- Ninja Boy
- Ninja Funnies
- Ninja High School: Ninja-themed, furry comedy series.
- Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja: An American ninja during World War III.
- Pirates Vs. Ninjas
- Samurai: Legend
- Samurai's Blood
- Shi: Series about a modern "shadow war" between descendents of medieval Japanese warrior monks.
- Sin City: Noir series with Miho.
- Tales of the Ninja Warriors
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turkeys: Dean Rankine's parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for The Beano.
- Whisper: Series by Steven Grant about a modern female ninja.
- Zen the Intergalactic Ninja
Less notable or short-lived titles include Codename: Ninja, Corporate Ninja, Savage Ninja, Surban Jersey Ninja She-Devils, and Zombee. The Amelia Rules! series included A Very Ninja Christmas.
Ninja have supporting roles in Chastity, G.I. Combat (Kana), Karate Kommandos, Lucha Libre (the Pom Pom Ninjas), Les Naufragés d'Ythaq, Masters of the Universe (Ninjor), Rebirth (the hero's ally, Eiji Inaba), Sam Noir (villains), Scott Pilgrim (Roxanne "Roxie" Richter), Spike: Shadow Puppets, Sonic the Hedgehog (Uma Arachnis and the Arachne), The Order of the Stick (Therkla and others), The Tick (Oedipus), Usagi Yojimbo (ninja of the Neko, Mogura and Komori clans, including Kashira Chizu), Y: The Last Man (Toyota).
Non-anime, ninja-themed TV series include:
- Blood of the Samurai: The Series (2004) and Ninja EX (2004-2005): Indie action series and its spin-off martial arts comedy series.
- Bounty Hunter (Shokin Kasegi) (1975)
- G.I. Joe: Four cartoons: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1985 and 1989 series, G.I. Joe Extreme and G.I. Joe: Sigma 6.
- Fūma no Kojirō (2007)
- Henshin Ninja Arashi (1972-1973): Edo-period henshin series based on the manga of the same name.
- Kaiketsu Lion-Maru (1972-1973) and Fūun Lion-Maru (1973)
- Kurama Tengu: A very long running series running for over half century, with 9 generations of the actors playing the titular role as of 2008.
- Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu: Series about four teenage ninja.
- Lone Wolf and Cub/Iron Samurai (Kozure Ōkami) (1973-1976)
- Majin Hunter Mitsurugi: Tokusatsu series set in the Tokugawa era.
- Masked Ninja Red Shadow (Kamen no Ninja Aka-Kage) (1967-1968): Its footage was also used in the film, The Magic Sword of Watari.
- The Master (1984): Action-adventure series about John Peter McAllister, an older American veteran and ninja master who returned to the United States.
- Mito Kōmon Gaiden Kagerō Ninpō-chō (1995): Ninja spinoff of Mito Kōmon.
- Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm: Animated version of the video-game series, with Kitana in a main roles.
- Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011-)
- Ninja Captor (1976-1977)
- Ninpō Kagerō Giri (1972)
- Ōedo Sōsamō (1970-1992)
- Phantom Agents (Ninja Butai Gekkō) (1964-1966): Action series about a group of ninja agents working for the Japanese government.
- Pucca: A ninja boy, Garu, is the love interest of the series' main character and his nemesis Tobe is also a ninja.
- Rambo and the Forces of Freedom: Rambo's ally (White Dragon) and his enemy (Black Dragon).
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja (2012-)
- Raven (1993-1994)
- The Samurai (Onmitsu Kenshi) (1962-1965): Jidaigeki series with Tombei the Mist (an Iga ninja) as the hero's sidekick and many ninja villains.
- Samurai Girl (2008)
- Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya (1988-1989): Part of Toei's Metal Heroes series of tokusatsu.
- Shadow Warriors (Kage no Gundan) (1980), Shadow Warriors II (Kage no Gundan II) (1981-1982), Shadow Warriors III (Kage no Gundan III) (1982), Shadow Warriors IV (Kage no Gundan IV) (1985)
- Shōgun Iemitsu Shinobi Tabi (1990-1993)
- Shōgun no Onmitsu! Kage Jūhachi (1996)
- Shuriken School: Cartoon about a ninja school.
- Sukeban Deka III: Shōjo Ninpō-chō Denki (1986-1987)
- Supah Ninjas (2011-2013)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The 1980s, the 2000s and the 2010s cartoons, plus a live-action TV series.
Ninja-themed Super Sentai and Power Rangers shows include Hikari Sentai Maskman and Ninpū Sentai Hurricaneger; footage of Ninja Sentai Kakuranger was used in season three of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Ninja villains also appear in other Super Sentai series, such as GoGo Sentai Boukenger (Negative Syndicate's Dark Shadow clan: Gekkou, Yaiba and Shizuka), Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive (Miratrix and some other of Kamdor's henchmen), Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (Ninja Org Duke Dorodoro; Onikage in Power Rangers: Wild Force), Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (Dora Ninja; Dark Warrior in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season one), Denkou Choujin Gridman (Shinobilar), and Mahou Sentai Magiranger (Kirikage).
In live-action television series, ninja characters appeared in Arrow ("League of Assassins"), Baretta ("The Ninja"), Big Wolf on Campus ("Play It Again, Samurai"), Castle ("The Way of the Ninja"), Charmed ("Awakened"), Criminal Minds ("True Night"), Danger Theatre ("Lethal Luau"), Dude, What Would Happen ("Ninja Slicing"), Knight Rider (1982) ("Knight of the Rising Sun"), Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion (the Five Space Ninjas), Kung Fu ("The Assassin"), Loiter Squad, Lost Girl ("Big in Japan"), Magnum P.I. ("The Arrow That is Not Aimed"), Mito Kōmon (Tsuge no Tobizaru and Kagerō Ogin), Mortal Kombat: Konquest (alternative versions of Kitana, Mileena, Reptile, Scorpion and Sub-Zero), My Name is Earl ("Creative Writing"), Quincy, M.E. ("Touch of Death"), She Spies ("Fondles"), Shōgun, Simon & Simon ("Opposites Attack"), Space Sheriff Shaider (Girls' Army), That '70s Show ("Jackie Moves On"), The Greatest American Hero ("Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo"), Verbotene Liebe.
In non-anime cartoon series, ninja characters appeared in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius ("Crouching Jimmy, Hidden Sheen"), Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ("Robo-Ninja"), The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 ("Sneaky Lying Cheating Giant Ninja Koopas"), American Dragon: Jake Long (Huntsman and Rose), Batman Beyond (Curaré of the League of Assassins), Batman: The Animated Series (Kyodai Ken in the episodes "Night of the Ninja" and "Day of the Samurai"), Beware the Batman ("Family" and "Sacrifice"), Black Dynamite ("Just Beat It or Jackson Five Across Yo' Eyes"), Chop Socky Chooks (Ninja Chimps), Karate Kommandos (Super Ninja), Code Monkeys ("Revenge of Matsui"), Codename: Kids Next Door (Teen Ninjas), Conan the Adventurer ("Shadow Walkers", "Dragon's Breath" and "Sword, Sai and Shuriken"), Danny Phantom (Bertrand), Digimon Data Squad (Falcomon), Eon Kid (Black Beauty and her ninja robot army), Family Guy (in "Wasted Talent" and "I Take Thee Quagmire"), Happy Tree Friends (Generic Tee Ninjas), Jackie Chan Adventures (the Shadowkhan), Johnny Test (one of Johnny's transformation is Ninja Johnny), Kim Possible (the Yamanouchi ninja school), The Legend of Prince Valiant ("The Ghost"), The Legend of Zelda (Sing), The Penguins of Madagascar ("Mental Hen/Siege the Day" and "Street Smarts/Nighty Night Ninja"), Phineas and Ferb ("What a Croc!/Ferb TV"), Planet Sketch (Ninja Handyman), The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest ("Night of the Zinja"), Robot Chicken, Road Rovers ("Let Sleeping Dogs Lie"), Samurai Jack ("Samurai versus Ninja"), The Simpsons (in "The Telltale Head" Bart Simpson disguises as a ninja; in "Treehouse of Horror XVIII" one of the aliens is dressed as a ninja, in "Husbands and Knives" the Comic Book Guy has ninja weapons, and in "Yokel Chords" Bart plays a spoof video game with a female ninja), Skunk Fu (Ninja Monkeys), South Park ("Good Times with Weapons" and "Fantastic Easter Special"), Stroker and Hoop ("Ninja Worrier" and "Chopping Spree"), Superman: The Animated Series (Death Fist Ninja), Teen Titans (in "Masks", Beast Boy has a video game "Super Ninja Showdown 8"), The Transformers (Greatshot, Nightbird and Prowl), The Venture Bros. (Otaku Senzuri), Wolverine and the X-Men, Xiaolin Showdown (Tubbimura).
There is also a number of television series which have featured characters that are mistaken for ninja, or are merely characters dressed in ninja-like costumes (usually done as a spoof). In Chuck (the pilot episode "Chuck vs the Intersect", 2007) Sarah is dressed in a ninja-like costume for one scene; in Hill Street Blues (episode "Look Homeward, Ninja", 1986) a mentally unstable character believes himself to be a ninja and dresses as a ninja in one scene; in Knight Rider (2008 TV series) (episode "Knight Fever", 2008) so-called "motorcycle ninja" are merely wearing ninja-like black hoods under their helmets; Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (episode "Chi of Steel") (1995) features a Chinese Yi Chi Master who wears mystical bracelets and is dressed in a ninja-like costume; in MacGyver (episode "Murderers' Sky", 1988) opening scene features a character dressed in a ninja-like costume; in Perfect Strangers (episode "Karate Kids", 1987) Balki dresses as a ninja in a spoof of the Cato surprise attack scenes in the Pink Panther movies; and Murdoch Mysteries (episode "Kung Fu Crabtree", 2014) features Chinese assassins dressed in black-hooded garb and who wield Chinese broadswords.
Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) and Women of Ninja Warrior (Kunoichi) are two Japanese sports entertainment shows that are featuring (respectively) male and female competitors on an obstacle course. In the Prank Patrol shows, "ninja" are the show helpers setting up the pranks.
Shows that featured ninja characters of motifs include American Idol (contestant Danny Noriega, a self-proclaimed "sexy intense ninja pickle"), Big Brother Australia (the people who have to enter the house would to do things such as maintenance are referred to, even by Big Brother himself, as "ninja"; on the Friday Night Live show, the "ninja" are much more prominent, are given personalities and have segments dedicated to them), Cheat! (episode "Cheat-jitsu"), Deadliest Warrior (in one episode a ninja fights against a Spartan), Gamers, In Living Color (an episode features a skit about a ninja home security system in which a ninja was used to kill intruders), Late Night with Conan O'Brien (Conan and Jim Carrey fight ninja), The Lance Krall Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Craig Ferguson fights a ninja), MadTV (in some of their Steven Seagal parodies), Mystery Science Theater 3000 (an episode features Joel and the 'bots singing a song called "Master Ninja Theme Song", which became a popular song from the show), Mythbusters (a ninja special of the show tests classic ninja myths such as walking on water, catching a sword and catching an arrow), Screen Test, Splatalot! (Shaiden), You Don't Know Jack (in one episode the host was attacked by ninja).
Ninja appeared in television advertisements for Alior Sync bank, Anime Network, Bombay Sapphire, Clamato, FedEx, Free Realms, Honda Civic Si, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, MyHome.ie, Nicorette, Nike, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Oregon Lottery, Pepsi, Pop-Tarts, and Sure.
In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) "ninja", "loot ninja" or "ninja looter" describes a player who has stolen something from another player. This is pejorative; if a player is called a "ninja" in a game they may be rejected by the community and find it difficult to join guilds or raid parties.
There are several ninja-themed role-playing games (RPGs):
- Bushido: A role-playing game set in feudal Japan, it includes the supplement Ninja – Shadows Over Nippon.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: There are ninja characters in several gamebooks in the series: Secret of the Ninja (#66), Return of the Ninja (#92), The Lost Ninja (#113), Ninja Cyborg (#155) and Ninja Avenger (#179).
- Feng Shui
- Hero System: Includes the Ninja Hero gamebook.
- Legend of the Five Rings: Set in a world resembling feudal Japan, it includes the sourcebook Way of the Ninja.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Ninja is a character class, first appearing in the 1985 first-edition supplement Oriental Adventures. Test of the Ninja is an AD&D gamebook. The Ninja class was added to the edition 3.5 in Complete Adventurer.
- Ninja Burger: Three editions and a card game based on the website.
- Ninjas and Superspies: Modern-world setting system.
- Queen's Blade: Two series of erotic gamebooks featuring the ninja Shizuka and video-game ninja such as Mai Shiranui, Kasumi and Taki in Queen's Gate.
- Rifts: The Mystic Ninja and Ninja Jucier character classes were introduced in the book, Rifts World Book 8: Japan.
- Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game
- Sengoku: Samurai game set in 16th-century Japan which includes the sourcebook, Shinobi, Shadows of Nihon.
- Spycraft: Modern espionage game with a ninja character class in the campaign setting, World On Fire.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness: Game by Palladium Books based on the Ninja Turtles.
- The Way of the Tiger: Ninja-themed series of gamebooks, set in a fantasy world setting.
Ninja ara also featured in collectible card games, such as Legend of the Five Rings CCG, Magic: The Gathering (where the ability Ninjutsu was introduced in the set Betrayers of Kamigawa) and Mortal Kombat Kard Game, and in some miniature wargaming games, such as Heroscape.
Several musicians and bands have the word "ninja" in their names:
- Ninja Crew
- Ninja High School
- Ninja Sarasalo
- Shinobi Ninja
- Twelve Foot Ninja
- Vanilla Ninja
A number of titles have the word "ninja" or "ninjas":
- Club Ninja (album by Blue Öyster Cult)
- Camouflage Ninjas (single by Killarmy)
- Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin (single by In Nothing We Trust)
- Enter the Ninja (single by Die Antwoord)
- Ninja (debut album by Christina Aguilar)
- Ninja Jane (album by Zola Turn)
- NIN|JA (collaborative album by Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper Social Club)
- Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja (debut single of Lostprophets)
- Ninja (a single by Skindred)
The bands 7 Seconds of Love, Concord Dawn (in Uprising), Europe (in The Final Countdown), ICP (in Tunnel of Love) and Jay Chou have songs entitled "Ninja". GO!GO!7188 and Afrirampo each have a song entitled "Kunoichi" (on Ryūzetsuran and A', respectively).
Songs with "ninja" in their title include "Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin" by Reuben (on We Should Have Gone To University), “Hoodie Ninja” by mc chris (on mc chris is dead), "Imaginary Ninjas" by Vince Dicola (on Falling off a Clef), "Inner Ninja" by Classified (on Classified), "Ninja Goon" by Gruvis Malt (on Sound Soldiers), "Ninja Hi-skool" by Bis (on Play Some Real Songs: the Live Album), "We Are Ninja" by Frank Chickens (on We Are Frank Chickens), "Ninja Highschooool" by Peelander-Z (on P-Pop-High School), "Ninja Rap" by Vanilla Ice (on the TMNT II soundtrack), "Ninja Step" by RZA (on the Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai soundtrack), "Ninja Quiet" by Marco Beltrami (on World War Z: Music from the Motion Picture), "Supa Ninjaz" by Method Man (on The Pillage, and "This Secret Ninja" by AFI (on Very Proud of Ya).
- Ninja Tune is a London-based independent record label.
- Built by Ninjas is a music video production group formed by Jaret Reddick and Heath Balderston.
- Fans of the white rap group Insane Clown Posse, commonly identified as juggalos, sometimes refer to themselves as "ninja".
Ninja are featured in the music video for the Presidents of the United States of America's song "Peaches". The singer Cheryl Cole dressed as female ninja and performed with a group of similarly-themed dancers in the TV special Cheryl Cole's Night In. Members of the girls band Momoiro Clover Z dressed up as ninja for the music video for the single D' no Junjō.
- Iga F.C. Kunoichi is a Japanese L. League women's association football team.
- The New Haven Ninjas are an American football team in New Haven, Connecticut.
- The American Ninja is a stage name of wrestler Brian Adams.
- The Black Ninja is a stage name of wrestler Cocoa Samoa.
- The Canadian NINJAs are a professional wrestling tag team.
- "Ninja" is a nickname of Brazilian MMA fighter Murilo Rua.
- "The Ninja" is the nickname of Filipino boxer Bert Batawang.
- Ninja Chops, a wrestler in the Naked Women's Wrestling League.
- Super Ninja is a ring name of several professional wrestlers, including Keiji Mutoh and Rip Oliver.
- A WWE Diva, Lena Yada, dressed as a ninja for the 2008 Cyber Sunday Halloween Costume Contest and appeared as Ninja Yada in Wrestlicious.
Tourism and other business
Iga Ueno Ninja Festa, the annual ninja festival in the Japanese city of Iga in the former province of Iga, has had ninja-inspired performances, competitions and opportunities to practice ninja skills since 1964. Iga also has the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, ninja-style restaurants and cafes. In the United States, ninja-themed restaurants include Ninja New York in New York City and the Flying Ninja sushi bar in San Francisco. There are American roller coasters named Ninja in California and The Ninja in Missouri.
Other ninja attractions in Japan include the Koga Ninja Village and Kogaryu Ninjutsu Yashiki (Ninja Houses) in Koga-gun, Shiga Prefecture, the Togakushi Ninja Village for Children, the Togakushi Ninpo Museum and Karakuri Yashiki (Ninja House) in Togakushi, Nagano, the Edo Wonderland theme park in Nikkō, Tochigi, restaurants Men no Sato and Ninja Akasaka in Tokyo, and Ninja Kyoto in Kyoto.
Businesses include Ninja Jump, an American company producing licensed inflatables; Web Ninja, an Australian e-commerce website-design team; Ninja Message, an Australian direct-to-voicemail service; Ninja Tracking Systems, a British GPS developer; Ninja Polish, an online nail-polish retailer; Ninja Pyrate, a fire show equipment workshop; Crystal Ninja, a crystal design studio; Lactose Ninja, a manufacturer of lactose-intolerance remedies and the Ninja Company, a Eurasian toy manufacturer.
Ninja-themed websites include:
- Ask A Ninja: Series of podcasts in which a ninja answers questions about ninja.
- Ikenhisu: Live-action web seriers.
- Ninja Burger: Humor website, RPG, card game and book in which ninja run a fast-food delivery service.
- Ninja Spirit: Series of short martial-arts parody videos.
- Ninjai: The Little Ninja: Flash animation.
- Ninja the Mission Force: Comedy series.
- No Need for Bushido: Webcomic.
- One Warm Night: Web TV series.
- Pucca: Flash-animated Korean media franchise which includes book and TV series.
- Real Ultimate Power: Humour website created by Robert A. Hamburger, a 13-year-old character.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Webcomic about an Irish doctor ninja obsessed with Batman.
- TIN The Incompetent Ninja: Webcomic series.
- Vexika: Live-action web series.
- White Ninja: Webcomic part of the National Lampoon Humor Network.
- Zombies vs. Ninjas: Web cartoon series by Shut Up! Cartoons.
In information technology, "cyber ninja" are sophisticated counter-hackers.
Products named for ninja include:
- Ninja-IDE, a cross-platform integrated development environment.
- Fuwa Maru, "ninja snacks" by Tohato.
- The Lego Ninja Lego bricks, succeeded by LEGO Ninjago.
- Lego Minifigures Series 1 includes a ninja mini-figure.
- Liquid Ninja, an energy drink
- N.I.N.J.A. MITES, an Italian bootleg keshi.
- Ninja, a series of sport bikes by Kawasaki.
- Ninja, a brand of food processors manufactured by Euro-Pro.
- Ninja, a brand of web tools.
- Ninja 4WD, a competition buggy by Tokyo Marui.
- Ninja Blocks, a sensor-control system.
- Ninja Paintball, a brand of paintball accessories.
- Nodal Ninja, a photographic-equipment manufacturer.
- Stage Ninja, a brand of music accessories.
Other products are CardNinja, a wallet phone case; Majestouch NINJA Tenkeyless, a computer keyboard from Diatec Corp; Modela Ninja Pibow, an enclosure for the Raspberry Pi computer; Ninja Driver, a USB stick wrap; Ninja Flex, a type of safety glove; NINJA Plus, a CPU cooler by the Japanese company Scythe; Ninja Remote, a television-control device and IR jammer; and SwimmingNinja, a swimbait lure.
In software, CartNinja is a browser application, Ninja Email Security is the former name of the VIPRE Email Security for Exchange antivirus and antispam filter, Ninja Lite is a video telephony program, and Photo Ninja is a RAW converter program.
Several paramilitary, police and militia groups use the names (or nickname) "Ninja" or "Ninjas":
- The Santomean special-police force of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, officially known as the Emergency Police, are popularly known as Ninjas.
- Rebels in the Pool Region of the Republic of the Congo called themselves Ninja.
- The Red Berets, a Croatian Serb rebel paramilitary group of Dragan Vasiljković based in Knin, Croatia, called themselves "Kninjas". During the early 1990s, the Kninjas militia was even the subject of a comic book series printed in Serbia.
- Although some death squad-type armed groups active during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor called themselves "Ninja", the name was apparently borrowed from film rather than the Japanese model. "Ninja" gangs were also active elsewhere in Indonesia.
- During the Algerian Civil War, the government's commando units were known as "Ninja" because of their black hoods.
- The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team has sometimes been called "Ninja".
NINJA loan is a slang name for a type of subprime loan to someone with "No Income, No Job, or Assets". The so-called ninja miners are Mongolian miners that dig small unauthorised mines for gold. According to data compiled by Indeed.com, there was 7,000 percent growth in the number of job listings that include the term "ninja" over the period of 2006-2012.
Sometimes, petty criminals are nicknamed as "ninja", such as in the case of the so-called "ninja murders". For example, an American burglar reported to have used a nunchaku on one of his victims was known by the media as the "Staten Island Ninja", while a former Russian soldier who engaged in robberies in Italy using a black attire and a bow was called "Russian ninja" by the media. "Ninja rocks" is also a type of burglary tools.
In 2006, Miss Japan Kurara Chibana appeared in a ninja/samurai-style national costume during the Miss Universe competition. Goth Ninja is a type of Japanese street fashion which became popular in 2009.
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